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Subject: Solo Ogre Thoughts rss

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Mike MacMartin
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I've been wanting to play this game solo, and have been thinking about how to randomize up and "program" the Ogre's turn. Movement is fairly well taken care of by the article on the SJG site, but targeting still has to be done by the player. I think that it can be done with a second card draw (or perhaps a combination card deck?), or a dice table. I see three main targeting priorities: 1) Target Nearest, 2) Target Weakest, 3) Target Strongest. Weakest would be lowest D, and Strongest highest attack value.

A possible dice chart:

Movement:
1) Cautious advance - slip left
2) Cautious advance - slip right
3) All Ahead Full!
4) Head left
5) Head right
6) Head toward nearest threat

* Avoid threat anywhere?

Target Priority:
1-2) Target Nearest
3-4) Target Weakest
5-6) Target Strongest

Are these charts good enough? Should I make up some cards? Is there something I've missed? And what part of the movement chart should be replaced with "Avoid Nearest/Biggest Threat"? I guess if done with cards, all the results could be represented.

[if I made cards, would others be interested in having the file? I'm thinking of having some simple iconography on it. I'd like to do a set for Kwanchai's art, but I suspect that's likely to be a no-go, and I doubt SJG would want me using the original art, either - so icons! "!" for all ahead full "?" for threat, that kinda thing]
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Andrew Walters
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That will give you an unpredictable Ogre, but it will be slightly less efficient than a good player and you may be able to beat it too often. If the Ogre wanders left when the CP is right and it doesn't give him any extra shots you just picked up *two* extra turns to shoot at him - it's as if the CP just moved backwards a three or four hexes.

If the Ogre diverts from a direct drive on the CP it gives the defender more chances to shoot at it, so an intelligent Ogre will only do this when he has a good chance of taking out enough defenders to compensate for the additional time the defender gets to shoot at him.

I'd suggest a system like this:

Locate the most direct move toward the CP, note how many attacks you would get (eg 2x1:1 and 1x2:1).

Now locate another hex that's generally in the direction of the CP where you will get more attacks, and note the number of attacks and how many hexes of movement toward the CP you gave up to get those extra attacks.

Locate another hex that's even less direct, but which gives you more attacks; note the hexes lost and number of attacks.

Now draw one of the cards, which will read something like "Will give up one hex for two 1:1s, will give up three hexes for four extra attacks" or some variation thereof, and make the Ogre's choice.

This is a little work, but it will give you a smart Ogre. Combine this with a 1-2 armor unit deduction for the defense and you'll have a tough game.

Looking back at that, it may be a little tedious to employ. Let me take another swing at it.

Have the cards simply read: Move directly towards CP unless...

...diverting one hex right will get one extra attack.
...diverting one hex left will get two extra attacks.
...moving only one hex forward will get two extra attacks.
...moving one hex backward will get four extra attacks.

...and so on, remembering that the more hexes forward the Ogre gives up the more attacks it should gain. Since there's always a (simple) conditional the Ogre won't make any completely stupid moves.

Now for the *missiles* a random decision can be fine, since there are so many good ways to use them.

In the end I hope you can avoid a system where the Ogre behaves "randomly" to its disadvantage, because that's out of character and not all that fun.

Andrew
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Mike MacMartin
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So perhaps the target priority is more important than movement decisions. The target priority would need to be such that it ends up intelligent, but movement can be easily interpreted from that.

Hm.

So, target nearest, target weakest, target strongest, maximise attacks, and full speed ahead (drive three toward CP and take targets of opportunity)?

Two full speed aheads will weight toward going toward the CP as much as possible, while still having it make good target decisions. Important to note is that "move toward CP" is always a priority, and the Ogre will move at least one hex that way per turn, and likely two or three, unless it can get better attacks off?

It is /hard/ to develop an unpredictable but intelligent automated opponent.
 
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Andrew Walters
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There should also be an exception rule for Hwz. If you're going to enter the range of that six attack strength you should drive straight on until you've killed it, not taking one more turn of fire than you have to.

Andrew
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Matt Smith
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Take a look at Astra Titanus. It's like solitaire OGRE in space. I picked it up last week and have been really enjoying it. If you have a friend, by all means play OGRE, but for playing alone AT is very good. You may enjoy AT better than attempting to make an AI for Ogre. Very different from Ogre in many ways, but it doesn't suffer from the hurdles discussed in this thread, since it was written to be solitaire from the start.

Anyways, as for controlling the Titan (ogre) in AT, it uses cards such as those you suggest. Each card dictates the movement pattern for that turn as well as targeting priority for the weapon systems. Yes, sometimes the ogre will veer up or down as it moves forward, but since most objectives are along the center line of the map, and for every move upwards card there is a move downwards one, the titan tends to stay on course, more or less.

So have a look at how AT does it. I would suggest using cards rather than dice, so the movement stays somewhat equalized about the center line. And make sure you start the Ogre and CP on the same file. And perhaps when playing solo you should just play without the howitzers.

And take a look at AT
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John "Omega" Williams
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One way to go about it would be a series of wryly appropriate IF/THEN triggers.

Something like
IF CP undestroyed THEN Move towards CP.
IF Defenders within Range of weapon THEN fire at highest priority.

Stuff like that.
Id have to look at the system in depth though before any real ideas on how to approach that. But from the basics I know it seems to me any real sort of AI system of rolls or cards for the OGRE is almost redundant.
Its attack motives are very straightforward as long as it has an objective to destroy.
Move towards it. Flatten it. Mop up any stragglers.
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Stephan Beal
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gamer1701d wrote:
I have seen some solitaire play rules that control the Ogre.


and here's yet another set, for any thread readers who're looking for one:

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1R9dMQLgKRfzizH1okkai7ubY...

they're called "MOOSE" (Mechanical Ogre Opponent Simulation Engine), and i'm pretty pleased with how they play (they beat me as often as not).
 
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